How will I know when it is the “right time” to euthanize my pet? Is my pet suffering?
This is the most common question asked in regard to in home euthanasia. As pet owners, you have more knowledge than you may think as you know your pet better than anyone else. You are ultimately our best resource in assessing your pet’s quality of life through all of your experiences with them through the years as well as knowing individual personality traits that make him/her the pet you know and love. To further assist families in being able to answer this question as accurately as possible, Dr. Alexis has created what she calls the “Quality of Life Assessment appointment”. During this appointment she will assess your pet in their home environment (over the phone assessment is also possible!) and listen to your concerns so that she can guide you on reading your pet’s ability to navigate his/her environment, noticing changes in your pets personality, body language and facial expressions, as well as recognize subtle signs of pain, etc. This appointment option is intended to allow families to feel as if they made this difficult decision at the most appropriate time for their pet.
What should I do with other pets in the home?
We fully support your decision on whether or not you wish to have other animals present during an appointment however, Dr. Alexis is a HUGE proponent of having all animals present if possible and will address canine and feline grief while in your home. There is also additional information on this topic in our pet loss support booklet. There is often the misconception that animals will become traumatized from witnessing another pet in the home pass away. However, being present helps them process the passing of your pet. On rare occasions, other animals in the house can become defensive with strangers in the home. In these cases, for safety purposes, Dr. Alexis may ask that this particular pet be placed in a separate part of the home until the end of the appointment at which point Dr. Alexis can step out & give this particular pet privacy to be near the patient after he/she passes.
What about having my children present?
Ultimately it is your decision whether or not a child is present. However, Dr. Alexis can guide you from her personal experience and what she has witnessed in homes in the past. A discussion with your children is important in guiding whether or not they will be present for the appointment and Dr. Alexis believes that honesty is the best policy and shielding children from the appointment could possibly lead to conflict down the road. She believes that if a child has an ability to love a pet, they should be given the opportunity to say goodbye in their own way. Sometimes the child wishes to be present for the entirety of the appointment while others will opt to stay in their room or go to a friend’s house, and all of this is okay! Young children often respond directly to their parents’ emotions while older children will often have a more complex response to the grieving process. We offer a pet loss support booklet, in which children and pet loss grief are addressed in greater detail. Either way Dr. Alexis will fully support your decision and has in home resources to help keep younger children occupied during appointments.
How long is the typical pet euthanasia appointment and what should I expect?
The typical in home pet euthanasia appointment lasts about 45 minutes to one hour. This varies based on private time requested by the family as well as the way in which your pets’ health condition and status might affect how much time and dosing is required for full sedation. On rare occasions when the pet is rapidly declining, quicker action may be necessary in an attempt to end suffering as soon as possible. Dr. Alexis will always explain the process in full detail at each appointment so that you feel prepared and are better able to focus on your pet rather than worrying and wondering minute to minute during the appointment. You can find additional information about in home euthanasia services here.
How do I prepare my home for a euthanasia appointment? What will the Doctor need from me?
Dr. Alexis wishes to make your experience during this difficult time as stress free as possible for you and your family. She will arrive prepared for the entire procedure, which she will explain to you and address any of your questions or concerns. Most owners will brainstorm a specific location in the home for the process to take place where they believe their pet will be most comfortable. Sometimes, a pet ends up picking a different location and Dr. Alexis is happy to work around your pet wherever he or she chooses to rest. It is often best to work in a spot your pet chooses on his/her own. You are also welcome to hold your loyal pet and show them love and affection while they lay right in your lap. The only assistance Dr. Alexis will require from owners is assistance with carrying your pet respectfully to her car for transport, specifically any pet over 35lbs. If you are uncomfortable or unable to assist in carrying your pet to the car (with the use of a stretcher and a comfy blanket,) Dr. Alexis will do her best to arrange for a helper for an additional fee of $50.
What if my family does not agree on when to euthanize our pet?
When making a decision whether or not to euthanize a pet it can be very difficult for all members of a family to be on the same page at the same time. This varies by individual based on their relationship with the pet, time spent with the pet (working at home versus working outside of the home), and this decision can even vary by gender. At the end of the day, each family member will never be fully ready to say goodbye, but there are ways to set aside a specific date/time with which the whole family can feel more comfortable. For further assistance with this decision Dr. Alexis can preform a quality of life assessment appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed on this page, please feel free to contact Dr. Alexis prior to your appointment by phone at 516-402-4100.